Versatile and tasty – that’s the best way to describe the hazelnut tree. The stately deciduous tree from Southeast Europe is usually only found as an avenue tree or in parks in Germany, but the birch plant can also be cultivated in large gardens without any problems. In addition to the fruits, which are not dissimilar to the native hazelnut, it also has other positive properties and uses.

General information about the tree hazel

  • The flowering period is between March and April.
  • The deciduous tree is very fast-growing in the first few years. Up to 60 centimeters of growth per year are quite possible.
  • The husks of the tree hazelnut are deeply slashed and lined with sticky glandular hairs.
  • Hazelnut trees are often found in avenues and on roadsides.
  • The Corylus columa belongs to the birch family.

possible uses

The woody fruits of the hazelnut tree – which are also known as witch nuts – are often found in aquaristics as decoration and food. For this, the witch nut must be completely dried before it can be used as a nutritious basis for shrimp and fish. Do not collect fruit from busy roads or train tracks. You can also find witch nuts on the edges of fields and in parks.

The foliage of the tree hazel weathers easily and is therefore easy to compost. The leaves can be disposed of on your own compost in autumn without any problems.

In contrast to the hazelnuts we are familiar with, the nuts of the Corylus columa are smaller and not as aromatic. Nevertheless, they can be used as a baking ingredient and also as tasty snacks.

In the past, the wood of the hazelnut tree was often used to make high-quality furniture. Extremely resistant to weathering and moisture, so that you can use branches that fall off when you cut them as climbing aids and pond decorations, for example.

Are you designing a hillside property according to your own wishes and are you looking for a way to stabilize the soil? Due to its widely branched and dense root system, the tree hazel is able to sufficiently strengthen the soil.

location and soil

The tree hazel, originally native to Asia Minor and south-eastern Europe, is relatively undemanding and thrives on steep slopes as well as in sparse high forests and on bank edges.

  • The Corylus columa needs a light, sunny to partially shaded location.
  • The hazelnut tree has also been found frequently in Central Europe since the 16th century. There are no special requirements even for the substrate.
  • A deep, humus-rich soil is preferred by the tree hazel.
  • Even an extremely calcareous or sandy substrate is no problem for the robust plant.
  • Very adaptable to soil pH.

watering and fertilizing

Waterlogging is not exactly conducive to the growth of the Corylus columa, but the plant survives a flood lasting up to three months unscathed.

  • Water moderately – two to three times a week in the hot summer months.
  • In winter, the tree hazel does not require any additional watering.
  • If the hazelnut tree is cultivated in your own garden, you can supply it with important nutrients if necessary.
  • In spring and autumn, mulch the soil and mix in compost, horn shavings or lawn clippings.
  • Conventional liquid fertilizer is completely unsuitable for deciduous trees.

planting in the garden

The tree hazel is rarely found in domestic gardens and tends to fill in bare areas on steep slopes and in deciduous forests. Cultivation of the deciduous tree, also known as “Turkish hazel”, is relatively uncomplicated.

  • Hazelnut trees can reach a height of over 20 meters. Therefore, plan enough distance to buildings, the road and other trees.
  • The optimal time for planting outdoors is between October and March.
  • Place the root ball in a bucket of water for a few hours beforehand so that it can soak up enough moisture.
  • In order to provide the sprouting taproots of the tree hazel with enough space, the planting hole should be at least twice as wide and deep as the circumference of the root ball.
  • There is no need to add coarse pebbles or shards of pottery.
  • Mix larger quantities of compost under the soil and press down the substrate after planting the young hazelnut tree.
  • Water sufficiently and ensure consistent soil moisture for the coming weeks.

The hazelnut tree cannot be used for cultivation as a hedge plant. Other deciduous tree species are better suited for this.

Note: If the soil is too compacted, the roots of the tree will suffer and the growth of the hazel tree will be impaired. Therefore, regularly loosen the soil around the plant.

To cut

The cone-shaped growth of the Corylus columa hardly needs a supporting pruning. If you still want to help the shape and vitality of the tree hazel a little, you should consider the following points:

  • Nut trees are pruned in midsummer.
  • The most important tools include pruning shears, a saw and a ladder. In addition, you should use a safeguard if the trimming takes place at dizzy heights.
  •  Remove annoying side shoots.
  • Branches that grow steeply upwards – also known as water shoots – must also be completely removed.
  • To prevent infection, do not saw off the shoots directly on the trunk, but leave 5 – 10 centimeters.
  • Alternatively, you can also smooth the edges of the wound and preventively close it with a special fungicide.
  • Also remove dead and diseased shoots.
Note: Water shoots are caused by pruning that is too strong or carried out incorrectly. The saying is often true: ‘Heavy late pruning leads to strong budding.’ In order to avoid a renewed formation of steep shoots, carry out the tree pruning when the leaves are still on.


The pioneer plant is extremely hardy and does not require any special protection during the frosty season. The only exception are young plants: During a prolonged cold spell below -15°C, the hazelnut trees can be damaged or even die off completely. A thick layer of mulch or grass clippings will help young plants survive the winter unscathed.


Hazelnut trees are not self-pollinators and therefore need one or two hazelnut trees in the immediate vicinity to produce fruit. However, the imposing deciduous tree cuts a fine figure in the garden even without the nutritious nuts. It provides shade and strengthens loose soil on slopes with its widely ramified network of roots. If you don’t want to use a young tree from a specialist shop, you can grow a tree hazel yourself.

Vegetative propagation

With this type of propagation, you need a hazelnut tree that has elastic shoots at the lower end of the trunk.

  • Vegetative propagation can take place as early as autumn.
  • Tie off the elastic shoot downwards and cover a section with substrate.
  • 10 – 15 centimeters of the sinker must look out of the ground.
  • Water regularly when it is warm and cover the section with a layer of compost when it is cold.
  • After a few weeks – but no later than next spring – the sinker has developed its own roots.
  • Separate the offshoot from the mother tree and transplant to your chosen location as usual.


Another easy way of propagation. Always take several cuttings to significantly increase the chances of success.

  • For cuttings, use two-year-old shoots that are about 30 centimeters long.
  • Separate from the mother plant and remove all but 10 centimeters of all buds and leaves.
  • Stick the leafless end of the shoot into the ground.
  • The cuttings do not need any nutrients until they root. It is up to you whether you use conventional potting soil or simply do not enrich the soil with compost.
  • In order to create controlled conditions, you can also root the shoot cuttings in a normal flower pot outdoors.
  • If you plant cuttings in autumn, you should protect them adequately from frost.
  • You can see whether the root formation was successful by looking at the new growth of the cutting.


Autumn is the best time of year to collect the hazelnut-like fruits of the hazel tree. Even though the nuts make a tasty baking ingredient, you should save some nuts for growing.

  • The safest method is growing in your own garden. This can also be done in plant pots until germination.
  • Sowing takes place in late autumn.
  • Prepare planters and fill them with regular garden soil.
  • Cover the nuts with just a few centimeters of substrate.
  • The cultivation vessel can also remain outside in a wind-proof location at sub-zero temperatures.
  • Be careful not to allow birds, mice and squirrels to spot the nuts.
  • The first sprouts appear in spring.
  • The cultivation of seeds does not always succeed. So sow as many hazelnuts as possible and use ungerminated seeds as food for birds and the like.
Tip: During the growth phase, make sure that the hazelnut tree is not overgrown by other plants or grass.


Even if the tree hazel is one of the immigrant plant species in its native regions, it is still extremely hardy and does not require any special care.

diseases and pests

Corylus columa is not only extremely adaptable, but also extremely resistant to pests and diseases. Only a few fungi and harmful insects can therefore be found on the hazelnut tree.

Aphids – The insatiable insects are not exactly picky when it comes to choosing their host plants. In a mature hazelnut tree, the infestation of aphids is hardly significant, but younger plants can still lose many shoots and leaves with a large pest population.

  • Depending on the size of the tree hazel, spray it regularly over a period of several days with a decoction of stinging nettles.
  • Make sure that there are many natural predators for aphids. However, you can also order ladybugs and co. from mail order.
  • Use chemical insecticides in moderation and according to package directions.

Verticillium wilt – A very rare disease in which the fungus “Verticillium” attacks the root system of the tree hazel and penetrates through this into the interior of the plant. During the infestation, the fungus secretes a toxin that slowly poisons the tree. The entire process lasts only a few years and cannot be cured. The infected plants visibly take care of themselves before dying completely.

If your hazelnut tree is affected by the rare fungal pathogen, the entire tree must be felled. Before cultivating other deciduous trees in the same location, remove the old roots and the substrate used to be on the safe side.

The stately deciduous tree is extremely hardy and easy to cultivate. Nevertheless, the hazelnut tree is still relatively unknown in domestic gardens and can rightly be regarded as exotic. But even beginners shouldn’t have any difficulties with the Corylus columa.

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